- Dave Hooker, Reporter, RecruitingNation
The next Stanford?
That's how Vanderbilt will likely bill itself to a fantastic set of visitors this weekend. Four-star quarterback Gunner Kiel from Columbus (Ind.) East is the headliner, but he's not the only top-flight prospect to be in attendance. Vandy will also host three-star tailback Wes Brown from Olney (Md.) Good Counsel and four-star linebacker Albert Reid from Washington (D.C.) Friendship.
Kiel doesn't talk a lot so it's tough to guess where he's leaning, but there's little question that the Commodores coaching staff will mention Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck while Kiel is in town. It was Luck's class that helped transform the Cardinal into a winning program.
Vanderbilt coach James Franklin is looking for the same turnaround in Nashville. The two schools have plenty in common, namely high academic standards. They also play in tough conferences which means prospects have to overcome the fact that wins will be at a premium. Clearly, Vandy is one of the hottest teams in the nation, with bowl eligibility in hand and a top 25 recruiting class in the making.
Brown could actually be leaning towards Vanderbilt because he got to know Franklin when he was coaching at Maryland. And the fact that Vandy was Brown's first official visit is certainly significant.
West Virginia's commitment list
Albert Reid isn't the only West Virginia commitment planning on taking more visits.
Three-star athlete Deontay McManus from Baltimore (Md.) Dunbar is expected to visit Miami soon.
McManus chose West Virginia over Auburn, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State, Alabama and South Carolina, among others. Both players' apparent second thoughts are a bit surprising considering the mostly positive buzz in Morgantown, W.Va.
However, don't expect West Virginia to wait around on Reid or McManus. The Mountaineers have other options if the two aren't truly committed.
It will be interesting to see who else the Hurricanes can lure south. Miami seems to have weathered the NCAA storm for now, however, those dark clouds will likely still be there until signing day. But with Wes Brown and Deontay McManus suddenly in play, can the 'Canes generate some momentum in spite of the widespread NCAA allegations that surfaced earlier this month?
If Miami can lure Brown and McManus, it may be a sign to other prospects that the NCAA concerns aren't all that disconcerting.
Of course the biggest catch in the East for the 'Canes is five-star defensive tackle Eddie Goldman from Washington (D.C.) Friendship. Goldman's mother said this week that the family will likely take an official visit to Coral Gables, which would be a big step for Goldman. Miami was once a strong player for his services. Can they become one again?
The clock is ticking on Marshall
Five-star tailback Keith Marshall from Raleigh (N.C.) Millbrook said this week that he was planning on staying home this weekend, just days before he announces his final decision on Dec. 6. It will be a time of reflection for Marshall, who is set to choose between Georgia, Clemson, South Carolina, Florida and Notre Dame.
The final host of recruiters from those schools -- other than Notre Dame -- will visit Marshall this week. That would seem to rule out the Fighting Irish.
Georgia plays LSU for the SEC title on Saturday. Could the Bulldogs, who many believe is the quiet leader for Marshall, make an impression via telecast?
Here are some significant official visits scheduled for this weekend:
Three-star athlete Andre Scott from Orlando (Fla.) Oak Ridge is slated to visit North Carolina. Scott, who is expected to play cornerback in college, has also taken an official visit to Marshall and has several other scholarship offers, most notably from Purdue and Tennessee.
Three-star offensive guard Bryce Kennedy from Southern Pines (N.C.) Pinecrest will visit North Carolina, where he committed in early October. If Kennedy has any final questions about the NCAA issues at Chapel Hill, this will be his chance for answers.
Four-star athlete Joel Caleb from Midlothian (Va.) Clover Hill will take an official visit to Ohio State. Could this be Urban Meyer's first big pickup?
Four-star tailback Beniquez Brown from Florence (Ala.) High school and four-star cornerback Chris Bivins from Gainesville (Fla.) High School will visit Tennessee. Either, or both, of these prospects would be just the boost the Volunteers are looking for after their struggles in 2011.